VIRTUS: Protecting God's Children
The word virtus derives from Latin, and means valor, moral strength, excellence, and worth. In ancient times, virtus denoted a way of live and manner of behavior that always aspired to the highest, most positive attributes of people and aspects of human interaction. VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to help prevent wrongdoing and promote “rightdoing” within religions organizations. The VIRTUS programs empower organizations and people to better control risk and improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church.
The national Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc. (National Catholic) created the VIRTUS programs. Monsignor Kevin McCoy, past board chairman of National Catholic, asked whether child sexual abuse could be prevented, and if so, how? In March of 1998, National Catholic invited prominent national experts—experts in many disciplines—to discuss these questions at a forum in Washington, D.C. From those discussions, the initiative for the VIRTUS programs was created. The National Catholic Board of Directors selected an Ad Hoc Committee to oversee development of the programs. The Ad Hoc Committee was assisted by a steering committee of nationally known experts and program service providers.
The Protecting God’s Children program is the VIRTUS program for protecting children from child sexual abuse. The program consists of many components. The education component helps prevent child sexual abuse by first making every adult employee and volunteer aware of the issues surrounding child sexual abuse. This includes awareness of the many ways that sexual abuse harms its victims, their families, the parish, and the community. The awareness session also helps adults learn to recognize the warning signs of abuse and shows them the appropriate way to respond to suspicious behavior. Finally, the awareness session empowers each person with five steps to help prevent child sexual abuse.
Content taken from VIRTUS website. Please visit www.virtus.org for more information.